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Athlete’s Foot – Fighting the fungus

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Tinea pedis is the medical term for a superficial infection of fungus on your feet.  More commonly known as ‘Athlete’s foot’ this problem affects athletes and non-athletes alike.  Because our running shoes offer the warm, dark, moist environment these fungi thrive in, it can be difficult to treat athlete’s foot and prevent it from reoccurring.  You should take the time to visit your Austin podiatrist if you cannot get rid of the problem on your own.  There are two different types of tinea pedis that can affect you, typically occurring as either an acute or chronic infection.  

 

Acute tinea pedis is the red, itching, painful type that you seen in advertisements for Tinactin®, Lamisil AT® or other over the counter antifungal treatments.  These acute reactions to the fungus can occur in any part of the body and are the same family of organism that cause ‘jock itch’ and, contrary to its namesake, ringworm.  As we mentioned earlier, you can effectively use these treatments to decrease the symptoms, but unless you sanitize your foot wear and keep your feet dry, it can easily reoccur.

 

Chronic tinea is something you may not even realize your have due to lack of symptoms. It lacks the itching and redness of the acute form. Often chronic tinea pedis is thought to just be dry skin.  Unfortunately, no matter how many moisturizers you use or how often you apply them on your feet it will not cause it to get better. When left untreated, the skin can become thickened and crack easily.  Breaks in the skin then can become infected and lead to complications due to the presence of these organisms. 

 

The best treatment for tinea pedis is determined by your podiatrists taping a sample of skin scrapings to identify which fungus is present and prescribing appropriate medication.  Allowing your shoes time to dry thoroughly between uses is a good way to prevent reoccurrence.  Rotate between two pairs of shoes for complete drying to occur and change socks frequently.   Implementing these simple steps can keep athlete’s foot away from you.

 

Dr. Shine John, DPM, FACFAS
Podiatric Physician, Surgeon, Specialist at Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists
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